Video: Autonomous Flying cars?

In 2012 we reported on Massachusetts-based Terrafugia completing an eight-minute test flight with its prototype transition car-plane.

In 2013 the company has revealed plans for an autonomous plane which, assuming the concept, er, gets off the ground, will have a range 800km and a cruising speed of 320km/h.

Video

The TFX will take off, fly and land autonomously - it will fly itself, removing the need for the "driver" to have a flying licence. Terrafugia is already testing a flying prototype called the Transition. It's designed for pilots who want to be able to drive their plane home instead of parking them at an airport.

'WE WANT TO LOWER BARRIERS'

CEO Carl Dietrich says the TFX is a flying car for the masses. "We want to create a flying car than can be used by a much broader segment of the population than just the pilot community today. We want to lower the barriers for entry.

“We want to make it easier to learn how to safely operate a vehicle. We want to make it safer than general aviation is today."

Occupants need only input a programme to tell the car-plane where to go. Much like Google’s self-driving cars. Dietrich says the US Federal Aviation Authority is making great strides towards developing a network for autonomous planes and is confident a system will be up and running when the TFX is ready to take to the sky.

Dietrich believes the era of autonomous flying cars for the masses is just over the horizon.
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